I have been struggling a lot about finding a good balance between spending quality and quantity time with my kids and giving them time to play on their own so I can do house things or have some time to myself. I continue to read different things that encourage me both ways on this spectrum.
For awhile I feel encouraged to say “no” to some of the numerous daily requests to play with them so that they can use their imaginations on their own and spend quality time together as siblings. I still make sure we have time together doing the things they want to do with me. Additionally, every day there are 2-3 meals together (depending on whether my oldest is in school that day) along with the bedtime routine of story, prayer and song. I remind myself that it’s helpful for the kids to know that sometimes there are other things that need to get done and reminders that the world does not revolve around them are good. It is okay for them to have to wait for things, just like they will have to when they go to appointments and restaurants. Patience is a virtue after all, right? We all are better off if we are able to entertain ourselves while we wait or when there’s a lull in activities.
Other times I am reminded that this time of them being young is so short. Eventually they will not want me to play with them. I won’t be the first person they come to when they have a question or want to talk. I will one day be the one pestering them to spend some time together (that thought makes me a little sad). These thoughts make me want to let the laundry and cleaning slide and take in as much time as I can with these kids who still adore me and want me to read them all the stories and play all the games.
But it is probably also not healthy to completely lose myself in my children. My daughter needs to know that a woman is more than someone who takes care of her children. Yes, it’s important, but there are many women who don’t have children and she could be one of those and it’s good to know there are other aspects to womanhood. It’s important that I take care of my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health as well. My children watch what I do and I want them to have a mother who is healthy and has some semblance of a balanced life. It’s important that I make time for my husband and friends and other family. It’s okay to spend time on hobbies or stimulating my mind.
It sometimes seems like there are so many things I’d like to accomplish in my day and I don’t want to neglect any of them, especially my family. Perhaps it will help to remind myself that each day has its own opportunities and responsibilities and know that some days will be full of quality time with the kids, others will have time for personal fun and enrichment and still others will require chores and appointments. Perhaps I should take a longer look at my schedule, maybe the ebbs and flows in a week rather than individual days.
What about you? Do you feel like sometimes you’re pulled in opposite directions between spending time with your kids and tackling all of the other responsibilities in your life? Have you found a good way of balancing everything? Or at least having peace and contentment about your choices?